Davis Turns Corner, A’s Top Twins 5-3

Photo credit: @Athletics

By Matthew Harrington

After a move down the batting order, Oakland A’s DH Khris Davis is starting to show signs of life again. Friday night at Target Field in Minneapolis “Khrush” knocked in two runs on two hits as the A’s beat the Twins 5-3. Liam Hendriks picked up his seventh save of the season and Marcus Semien hit his 15th home run of the season. Marwin Gonzalez went deep for the Twins.

Semien put the Green and Gold on the board early, taking Minnesota ace Jake Odorizzi’s third pitch of the game out of the park for a 1-0 lead. After Odorizzi bounced back for two outs, Mark Canha singled and Ramon Laureano walked to bring Davis up to the plate.

Davis entered the game hitting .167 over his last 15 games, and was moved down in the batting order earlier in the week. He laced a single off Odorizzi in a 1-1 count to plate Canha for a 2-0 lead before Minnesota had even taken its first cuts.

The rare error from Matt Olson with runners on second and third in the bottom of the second pushed across a Twins run. An inning later, Gonzalez hit his 11th homer of the season with Nelson Cruz on base to take a 3-2 lead off Chris Bassitt. Bassitt (7-4, 3.96 ERA) would hang on for the win with five innings of two-earned-run ball on five hits.

He’d be the beneficiary of a Matt Olson RBI single in the top of the fifth inning to tie the game. Davis’ second RBI single of the game an inning later off reliever Ryne Harper (3-2, 3.18 ERA) would give Oakland the 4-3 lead. Chad Pinder would single in a run off Harper as well for the 5-3 final.

Ryan Buchter pitched 1 1/3 scoreless for Oakland (56-42), Joakim Soria added an inning and Liam Hendriks went 1 2/3 to nail down his seventh save against one of the toughest lineups in the majors. The Twins (59-37) will look to bounce back with All-Star Jose Berrios on the hill Saturday while Oakland counters with Brett Anderson.

A’s Rally in 7th for 5-2 Win Over M’s

Photo credit: @Athletics

By Matthew Harrington

The Oakland A’s rallied in the seventh inning to beat the Seattle Mariners 5-2 on the road Friday night. Franklin Barreto hit his first homerun of the season, Robbie Grossman knocked in two runs and Brett Anderson went six-plus innings for the win. Newly minted All-star and closer Liam Hendriks nailed down his fourth save of the year.

Seattle took the lead in the first off a J.P. Crawford sacrifice fly, but Barreto’s big fly off starter Yusei Kikuchi tied the game. Tom Murphy lifted a solo fly off Anderson in the bottom of the fifth to give Seattle a 2-1 edge. 

Kikuchi was cruising through six innings having given up just the one run, but he ran into trouble in the seventh. Matt Olson hit a ground-rule double to open the inning then scored on Khris Davis’ single and a throwing error by Domingo Santana in right. Mark Canha grounded out to move Davis to 3rd, then Davis scored on Ramon Laureano’s sacrifice fly for a 3-2 A’s lead.

Kikuchi (4-6, 4.94 ERA) would escape the inning, but wound up the loser after going seven innings with four hits and three runs (two earned) allowed. Anderson (9-5, 3.86 ERA), by virtue of the rally, wound up the winner after going 6 1/3 innings with five hits and two runs.

Robbie Grossman gave the A’s breathing room in the top of the ninth, knocking a one-hopper to the wall off Dan Altavilla good for two runs. Hendriks, crowned the A’s closer with Treinen injured, pitched a 1-2-3 inning with two strikeouts to close out the contest after Ryan Buchter and Yusmeiro Petit bridged the gap between Anderson and the closer. 

Olson Homers Twice, A’s Crush Halos 7-2

Photo credit: @Athletics

By Matthew Harrington

The Oakland Athletics mashed their way to a 7-2 win over the hosting Los Angeles Angels Friday night in SoCal, thanks to the bat of Matt Olson. The A’s Gold Glove first baseman hit two homers and knocked in five runs while designated hitter Mark Canha went deep as well. Mike Fiers went 6 2/3 innings, giving up only one run.

Olson opened the first inning with a bang, taking opener Noe Ramirez deep on an 0-1 pitch with a runner on and two outs for a 2-0 lead. After Ramirez (L, 3-1, 3.32 ERA) was removed after an inning for long reliever Felix Pena, Olson again would strike in his next at-bat. With runners on first and second, Olson this time went to right field for a 5-0 lead.

Fiers was dominant, working around six hits to only give up the one RBI on an Albert Pujols single in the 5th inning. Friday marked his eighth straight start of six-plus innings and three runs or fewer. In fact, of his last 12 starts, all were three-run or less affairs, though a May 13th outing only lasted five innings. Friday he went 6 2/3, while throwing 104 pitches to improve his record to 8-3 with a 4.01 ERA.

After Pena went five innings, only yielding the three-run shot to Olson, Luke Bard took over the seventh. Mark Canha tagged him with a two-run blast. Canha was filling in for Khris Davis who was hit by a pitch earlier in the week.

The A’s bullpen was almost flawless, but Lou Trivino gave up a sacrifice fly in the ninth inning off the bat of one-time Athletic Jonathan Lucroy. The run was unearned due to a passed ball earlier in the inning.

The A’s hope to have Davis back in the lineup Saturday when they send Brett Anderson to the mound. He’ll be opposed by Tyler Skaggs of the Halos.

Semien Spectacular, A’s Edge Rangers 5-3

Photo credit: sfchronicle.com

By Matthew Harrington

The Oakland A’s found themselves a game over .500 once again after beating the Texas Rangers 5-3 in Arlington Friday night. Marcus Semien went 4 for 5 with two homeruns, including the game-winning two-run shot in the ninth and Blake Treinen wriggled out of a bases loaded one-out rally in the ninth to preserve the win for Yusmeiro Petit. Petit (1-1) also escaped a bases loaded jam in the seventh.

The A’s were trailing 3-2 entering the seventh inning, but Semien stepped up with one out and runners on first and third, singling home Mark Canha off Shelby Miller to tie the game. He knocked in his third and fourth runs of the game, launching a Jose Leclerc (1-2) offering over the wall in right for a two-run blast in the top of the 9th and a 5-3 A’s lead.

Treinen entered the bottom of the inning looking to nail down the game. He got a fly out of Rougned Odor but pinch-hitter Ronald Guzman singled and Delino DeShields and Logan Forsythe walked to load the bases. Treinen coaxed a 5-4-3 double play out of Elvis Andrus to end the game and notch his 13th save.

Oakland led 2-0 by the fifth inning after a Matt Olson RBI single and Marcus Semien’s first homer of the game, his eighth of the season, both of Texas starter Lance Lynn. A’s starter Brett Anderson was cruising through five, giving up no runs, but the 6th inning proved his downfall. Elvis Andrus hit an RBI triple, Nomar Mazara grounded out but plated a run and Hunter Pence blasted his 13th longball of the season to give the Rangers a 3-2 edge late in the game, a lead Semien would single-handedly erase.

The A’s and Rangers, separated by one game in the standings, will play two Saturday. Paul Blackburn draws the game one assignment for the Green and Gold, while Chris Bassitt gets game two. Joe Palumbo and Adrian Sampson get the ball for Texas.

A’s Long Balls Key in 6-2 win over M’s; 7th straight for Oakland

sfgate.com photo: Oakland Athletics’ Matt Olson, right, celebrates with Stephen Piscotty (25) and Marcus Semien, center, after hitting a three-run home run off Seattle Mariners’ Wade LeBlanc during the fourth inning of a baseball game Friday, May 24, 2019, in Oakland, Calif.

By Matt Harrington

The Oakland A’s mashed three home runs to beat the Seattle Mariners 6-2 and take game one of the weekend series. Matt Olson, Mark Canha and Stephen Piscotty all went deep for Oakland in a seventh-straight win.

Daniel Mengden started for the A’s going four innings and allowing a run on a Domingo Santana RBI single in the top of the first. Oakland would hit two two-run shots in the bottom of the fourth off M’s starter Wade LeBlanc, but Mengden was ineligible for the win after not reaching five innings.

The A’s added a run on a steal and wild throw in the bottom of the seventh, answering back after the M’s scored in the top of the frame to make it 4-2 at the time. Piscotty then took Connor Sadzeck deep in the bottom of the eighth.

Lou Trivino picked up the win after getting the final out of the seventh and finishing off the eighth. Blake Treinen closed out the ninth in a non-save. 

Olson and Canha went back to back in the fourth innning to get the A’s an early jump, Canha filling in for injured DH Khris Davis has been on a tear lately replacing the major league home run leader in the line up, “If you’re looking for a replacement for Khris, that’s the guy, he feels good at the plate, he’s getting good swings, seeing some pitches, taking some walks. Really good.” said A’s manager Bob Melvin.

A’s outfielder Stephen Piscotty had a big night with the homer and two singles, putting him a 22 consecutive games to get on base leading the majors in reaching base. 

A’s starter Daniel Mengden started out the game walking four M’s hitters, but later A’s reliever Lou Trivino, who got the win and was the fourth of five pitchers was able to get four of five hitters out. 

Notes: Oakland A’s P.A. announcer Dick Callahan acknowledged A’s Spanish play by play announcer and our very own talk show host Amaury Pi-Gonzalez on the A’s scoreboard, who missed most of the first two months of the season after having surgery. Amaury looks great and says he’s been anxious to get back to work. 

Today’s 1:07 pm starters at the Oakland Coliseum for the Seattle Mariners Yusei Kikuchi (3-1, 3.43 ERA) vs. Oakland A’s starter Mike Fiers (3-3, 5.05 ERA).

Matt Harrington covers A’s baseball each Friday at http://www.sportsradioservice.com


Montas’ Near Complete Game Still A Feat, A’s Continue Dominance Over Tigers 7-2

Photo credit: @Athletics

By Matthew Harrington

Frankie Montas came one out away from pitching his first career complete game, finishing the night with 10 strikes on four hits with two earned runs to give the Oakland A’s (21-25) its 14th consecutive win against the Detroit Tigers 7-2 at Comerica Park Friday. Mark Canha and Chad Pinder each hit two-run home runs and Khris Davis went 3-for-4 with an RBI single to hand the Motor City Kitties their fifth loss in as many games. Miguel Cabrera and Josh Harrison knocked in the runs for Detroit (18-25)

Montas and Tigers starter Daniel Norris were trading zeros through the first three innings, but a Matt Olson fielder’s choice with runners on first and third in the top of the fourth plated the A’s first run. Canha added two runs on his fifth homer of the year in the top of the fifth when Norris’ 1-0 fastball caught nothing but the heart of the plate and the head of Canha’s bat for a 3-0 lead.

The Tigers after a pair of doubles from Miguel Cabrera and Josh Harrison manufactured a run in the bottom of the fifth. Montas hit Dewal Lugo with a pitch to put runners on second and first with one out, but consecutive groundouts bailed Montas out of a jam in his best start of the year.

Olson hit a single that, combined with a fielding error by center fielder JaCoby Jones, brought in a run in the top of the sixth. Pinder would knock losing pitcher Norris (2-2, 4.50 ERA) out of the game a batter later, taking him deep on a full-count offering for a 6-1 lead. Davis would single in a run against Sandy Baez in the top of the eighth for the A’s seventh run.

Montas (5-2, 2.67 ERA) came out to start the ninth, the first time he’d done so in his career, but be greeted by a single from Gordon Beckham. He would strikeout Christin Stewart and coax a groundout from Nick Castellanos, but future Hall of Famer Cabrera would not be the last victim of Montas. He doubled off Montas’ 109th pitch of the night, plating Beckham for a 7-2 A’s lead. Lou Trivino would coax a Ronny Rodriguez punchout to end the game.

Chapman’s First Walk-Off Homer Gives A’s 4-3 Win Over Tribe

Photo credit: @Athletics

By Matthew Harrington

OAKLAND–The Oakland Athletics walked off 4-3 against the Cleveland Indians, thanks to Matt Chapman’s first career walk-off home run in the bottom of the 12th inning at the Coliseum on Friday night.

The game was back-and-forth with both the A’s and Indians trading leads. Joakim Soria (1-2, 4.66 ERA) picked up the win after pitching two lights-out innings with three strikeouts while Brad Hand (2-2, 1.62 ERA) wound up the loser after the first batter he faced, Chapman, took him deep over the left field wall.

Until Chapman came to the plate to start the bottom of the 12th inning, neither team had so much as a baserunner in extras. Chapman worked a 2-0 count against Hand, but the Indians closer pumped two strikes over the plate that Chapman looked at. Hand missed badly with the 2-2 slider, then delivered a slider over the heart of the plate that Chapman bounced on for the walkoff and a double-digit (10) season homer total.

Frankie Montas was scheduled to pick up the win, pitching six innings with seven strikeouts to only one walk with the A’s ahead 3-2. He gave up two runs, an RBI double for Jake Bauers and a fielder’s choice in the top of the second, but Lou Trivino blew the save to tie the game 3-3 on Francisco Lindor’s sacrifice fly in the top of the seventh.

The A’s scored two runs off opener Cody Anderson, plating a run in the bottom of the first on a wild pitch, then tying the game in the bottom of the second on a Josh Phegley single. Ramon Laureano took a low and away slider from Neil Ramirez out of the park in the bottom of the sixth, his fourth homer of the season to give the A’s a 3-2 lead at the time and allow Montas to come out of the game ahead at the time.

Phegley Plates 8, A’s Sink Pirates 14-1

Photo credit: @Athletics

By Matthew Harrington

The Oakland Athletics boast one of the most fearsome hitters in Khris Davis, so it’d be no surprise to see an nine RBI game for an A’s player. What is surprising is that it was journeyman catcher Josh Phegley, who did it Friday night at PNC Park in a 14-1 A’s win over the Pittsburgh Pirates, not Davis.

The A’s knocked in 11 runs between the second and fourth innings, including scoring seven off Bucs starter and losing pitcher Joe Musgrove (1-3, 2.63 ERA). Phegley went 4-for-5, knocking in an obvious career high in eight runs, including a solo homer in the ninth inning. Matt Chapman also homered in a pair in the seventh for the A’s runs after their early game rally. Brett Anderson (4-2, 3.89 ERA) got the win after going six innings allowing four hits and the one run on a Josh Bell RBI ground out in the bottom of the first.

Khris Davis started the second inning rally, reaching base on a throwing error from Jung Ho Kang, the Stephen Piscotty doubled. Kendrys Morales knocked in Davis with an RBI single to tie the game. Jurickson Profar was hit by a pitch to load the bags for Phegley, who cleaned them with a double for a 4-1 lead. Marcus Semien knocked in Phegley later in the inning on a grounder to first and a 5-1 lead.

Davis led off the next inning and advanced to 2nd on Morales’ single, but the A’s were looking at two outs and coming up empty after Profar flew out. Phegley knocked in Davis for a 6-1 edge and later in the inning Semien walked with the bases loaded for a 7-1 edge. Semien, along with Chapman and Phegley were the only A’s with multiple RBI.

Profar singled in a run off Nick Kingham in the top of the third and Phegley hit another bases-loaded two-bagger to knock in three and give the A’s an 11-1 advantage. They wouldn’t need more, but they’d get more with the two long balls in the late innings.

The A’s hope they have more runs in their bats Saturday when they continue their interleague trip to Pittsburgh. Chris Bassitt takes the mound after a sterling season debut in his last outing, while Trevor Williams takes the hill for the Pirates.

Vlad Jr. Debuts, Jays Walk Off Over A’s 4-2

Photo credit: @Cut4

By Matthew Harrington

All eyes were on the A’s Friday night as they took on the Toronto Blue Jays. No, it wasn’t because of the man leading the galaxy in homers, Khris Davis, but instead on a Jays player with a Hall-of-Fame pedigree. Vlad Guerrero Jr., baseball’s top prospect, made his debut Friday night, “accounting” for the winning run in a 4-2 walk-off win. Former Athletic Eric Sogard homered and Brandon Drury hit a two-run walk-off jack. Robbie Grossman knocked in both A’s runs with a two-run homer.

Mike Fiers started for the A’s and had arguably his best start of the season going seven innings with six hits and the two earned runs. He was touched up by Sogard in the first. Randal Grichuk added another on an RBI single in the bottom of the third, but Fiers wriggled out with the no-decision after Grossman took reliever Joe Biagini deep to tie the game in the top of the eighth. Marcus Stroman started the game for the Jays and was once again lethal against Oakland, firing seven innings of one-hit ball after limiting the A’s to one run on eight innings in an earlier outing this season.

For Guerrero, the debut started off failing to live up to the hype. He was 0-for-3 heading into his ninth-inning at-bat. Guerrero worked a double off Yusmeiro Petit for a double. He was lifted for pinch-runner Alan Hanson who moved to third on a sacrifice bunt but was stranded after Teoscar Hernandez’s line-drive out. Drury hit the game-winning homer off Petit (0-1, 2.93 ERA)  though to send the Toronto faithful home with a win. Closer Ken Giles (1-1, 2.19 ERA) wound up the winner with a clean top of the 9th, striking out two A’s while working around a hit.

Oakland will face Vlad Jr. and the Jays Saturday with Brett Anderson starting for Oakland and Aaron Sanchez taking the bump for Toronto.

Stroman Stymies A’s, Jays top Oakland 5-1

sfgate.com photo: Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Marcus Stroman works against the Oakland Athletics in the first inning of a baseball game Friday night at the Oakland Coliseum 

By Matt Harrington

OAKLAND — The proof hadn’t quite been in the pudding for Marcus Stroman this season, but that changed after Friday night. The Blue Jays beat the hosting Oakland A’s 5-1, with Stroman picking up his first win of the season, despite entering play with a sub-2 ERA. Matt Chapman knocked in the only run for Oakland (11-11) while Brandon Drury homered for the Jays (9-12).

Stroman (1-3, 1.74 ERA) looked to go the distance, but was lifted in the ninth inning after allowing the leadoff batter of the inning Kendrys Morales to reach base. His line wound up being six hits, one earned run and six strikeouts. He lowered his ERA to 1.76, but was 0-3 entering Friday’s game. Closer Ken Giles finished out the ninth.

The A’s pounced on Stroman early, with Marcus Semien singling with one out in the first then scoring from first on Matt Chapman’s RBI double for 1-0 lead. The wheels fell of for the Green and Gold in the top of the next inning though, with the Jays knocking four runs off starter Aaron Brooks (2-2, 5.32 ERA).

The first three batters reached base before Brooks got Drury to pop out. Then Socrates Brito singled in a run, Danny Jansen knocked in two and former Athletic Eric Sogard knocked in one in three consecutive plate appearances. Brooks got the final two outs, but was tagged again in the top of the fourth for the solo shot by Drury. He finished with five innings in the books and five runs on six punchouts. Yusmeiro Petit, Fernando Rodney and Joakim Soria all game on for scoreless relief appearances.

Saturday’s contest will feature Matt Shoemaker squaring off against opening day starter Mike Fiers. Fiers has a 2-1 record, despite his 7.06 ERA.